The Los Angeles Rams are extremely thin at the center position, leaving a lot of room for opportunity. While Brian Allen seems to have the starting position on lockdown, behind him is wide open for someone to take over.
One of those players is Vitas Hrynkiewicz. The undrafted free agent from Youngstown State may be seen as a longshot to make the final roster, but with an impressive training camp and preseason, anything is possible. We continue our roster preview series with Hrynkiewicz.
Hrynkiewicz started all 16 games at center as a sophomore at Youngstown State. In his first season with the Penguins, Hrynkiewicz was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Newcomer team. He blocked for two 1,000 yard rushers and helped the Penguin offense average their most rushing yards per game since 2001.
The Youngstown State center made a name for himself after his first season and continued to improve. The Penguin offense once again averaged more than 200-yards rushing per game for a second consecutive season. Because of that. Hrynkiewicz earned second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors.
At his pro-day, Hrynkiewicz put up 25 reps on the bench press, ran a 4.71 shuttle, and posted a 32″ vertical jump. Had he been invited to the combine, his 25 reps on the bench press would have matched that of Chris Lindstrom and bested Andre Dillard. Both players were selected in the first round.
His 4.71 shuttle would’ve tied for 19th, and best Rams selection David Edwards and his 32” vertical jump would have placed his sixth.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hrynkiewicz recorded just two Penalties in three years and with his 32-inch vertical and impressive broad jump, he has excellent explosiveness.
Hrynkiewicz comes from the FCS, but hailing from New Jersey, his favorite player is former sixth-round selection, Jason Kelce. Hrynkiewicz will need to take a similar path if he’s to make the final 53.
Hrynkiewicz is a center, but he may need to show that he can transfer to guard. Allen has the starting role on lockdown, but behind him, the Rams have Austin Blythe, Austin Neary, Brandon Hitner, Charlie Brewer, Jamil Demby, Jeremiah Kalone, and Matt Kaskey.
Neary could very easily get cut due to his continued off-field issues, and outside of Demby and Blythe, nobody else is a guarantee. Hitner, Kaskey and Brewer are also undrafted rookies, and Hrynkiewicz will be competing with them for roster spots. It will all depend on how many interior offensive linemen the Rams decide to keep.
Three Plays On Tape
Youngstown State center Vitas Hrynkiewicz (70) drives West Virginia NT to the ground, helping spring a big run to the outside. Hrynkiewicz reportedly visited the Jets recently. pic.twitter.com/9RUvQ230oN
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) April 14, 2019
When it comes to FCS players, the complaint is always the level of competition. However, this comes against West Virginia. Hrynkiewicz runs his player into the ground to help set up a big run
While this looks like a simple four-yard touchdown run, this is all set up by Hrynkiewicz. No. 70 drives the defender back and opens up a huge running lane for his running back .
This play comes against one of the powerhouses in FCS football, South Dakota State. It’s nothing special — just a rep in pass protection. Hrynkiewicz does a great job of using his hands and using leverage to stay in front of his defender and keep his quarterback clean.
How will Hrynkiewicz transition to the NFL and will he do enough to earn a roster spot?
Players like Hrynkiewicz are why the preseason exists. That will be his time to show the coaches that he belongs. He’ll be at a potential disadvantage going from FCS to the NFL, but he has the athleticism and explosiveness to succeed and be a decent depth piece.
2019 Outlook and Role
It’s going to be an uphill battle, but Hrynkiewicz will have an excellent chance to make the roster. He’s competing at a position that’s very young and has a lot of unproven guys. If he can earn a spot on the roster and prove he can be a depth guy, that will be a success. The practice squad could also be a scenario.
Chances of Making Final Roster
As mentioned several times, Hrynkiewicz is on the perfect team if he wants to prove he belongs in the NFL. He couldn’t ask for a better situation. He’ll be coached by one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL in Aaron Kromer and join an offensive line group that has had success over the last two years.
However, the Rams are very thin on the interior with a lot of unknowns. If Hrynkiewicz can make himself stand out, there will be a spot for him on the final-53.